President and CEO of IBM, Virginia Rometty, distinguished guests, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen.

I'm pleased to announce that the DST has entered into a ten-year partnership with IBM South Africa in an ICT Research & Developmentand Innovationprogramme. The partnership is anchored inthe Black Economic Empowerment - Equity Equivalence Investment Programme (BEE-EEIP) of the Department of Trade and Industry. The partnership commits IBM to an investment of R700 million in a programme involving academic, enterprise development,and research components.

The Academic Programme will provide full bursaries to qualifying black and black women students, mainly from rural areas, in the fields of ICT, tiered from undergraduate to masters level.The enterprise development element of the programme will provide support to black and black women owned individuals and companies through various incubation, start-up and deep skills streams.The research programme will be centred around the establishment of an IBM research lab in Johannesburg beginning in April 2015.  It will focus on advancing smarter decision making, analytics, cloud,and next generation infrastructure.

The partnership is significant because it's thef irst time an international company has invested in R&D throughthe Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) financial instrument.

Our ICT research, development and innovation strategy has grown since ICT was identified as one of the key technology missions in the National Research and Development Strategy (2002). Over the past six years government has invested R85 million in the strategy each year. The strategy has contributed to advancing human capital development in areas such as:ICT for earth observation, human language technology, video coding and information security. Between2006 and 2013 the strategy's human capital development programmesupported atotal of 216 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

In April 2013 government published a10-year ICT Research, Development and Implementation Roadmap. The Roadmap is aimed at increasing public and private investment in ICT research, development and innovation by providing a mechanism to forecast technology developments in targeted areas and identify critical areas for development.

The National Development Plan sees ICT by 2030 underpinning a dynamic, inclusive and prosperous information society, in which a seamless information infrastructure will meet the needs of citizens, business and the public sector, providing access to a wide range of services required for effective economic and social participation. Such a situation, in which advances in ICT are used to strengthen economic competitiveness and enable an enhanced quality of life, is described as a “digital advantage”, and the ICT RDI Roadmap was developed by the Department of Science and Technology, in partnership with the CSIR Meraka Institute, to guide South Africa to this state of digital advantage.

The Department values the involvement of the private sector in facilitating world-class research and innovation and has recently established the DST ICT Multi-National Companies Cooperation (MNCC) Programme. Thus far the Department has collaborations with Microsoft South Africa, SAP and Nokia. These collaborations focus on four broad areas; (1) establishing R&D and innovation platforms and laboratories; (2) human capital development - both high-end and technical skills; (3) innovation and technology-based small and medium enterprise (SME) development; and (4) adoption of practices that foster and permit the transfer and rapid diffusion of technology without infringing on applicable laws governing intellectual property rights.

The DST/IBM SA collaboration could not have come at a better time.  South Africais increasingly putting science, technology and innovation at the centre of our social and economic development policy. IBM’s investmentwill greatly increaseR&D investment by the private sector.